Formerly known as The Philosophers, this psychological thriller asks you to question who would you sacrifice in the event of an apocylpse. But is this movie as exciting as it sounds?
At an international school in Jakarta, 20 senior are preparing to relax on for their last day of school, but their philosophy teacher Mr Zimit (James D’Arcy) has other plans. He challenges his class in a thought exercise where they are facing an atomic apocalypse. With only 10 spaces in a safe bunker they must decide based on their allocated at random jobs who should get the spaces in the bunker and who should be left to die.
After The Dark is a likeable but extremely frustrating movie. It starts off well as we are introduced to the students and they are thrown into this exercise by their teacher. The film imagines what the impending apocalypse would look like and visually the movie is quite striking. As the students debate over who should be allowed in the bunker we then get to see the consequences of their choices as the action plays out. It does make you wonder who would you save in an extreme situation if you only knew their occupation and how valuable they would be in rebuilding society.
The problem is that there is little real life consequences to the action. Or at least not anything interesting like an actual apocalypse. So there is never that much threat because you know in the end no one’s life is in danger. Still for two-thirds of the film it is still intriguing to see what choices the students will make. But the final third of the movie falls rather flat, when events take such a cheesy and irritating turn that you wish the nuclear apocalypse had wiped out all the characters, especially the central protagonist Petra- whose been given the role of Structual Engineer (Sophie Lowe) and her dull boyfriend James organic farmer (Rhys Wakefield-much better as the villain in The Purge). Petra is such a boring and annoying character that I wished one of the other supporting characters like Bonnie – the Soldier (Katie Findlay), Georgina-the surgeon (Bonnie Wright), or Jack -PHD in Chemistry (Freddie Stroma) would have been better more likeable central protagonists. It would also have a more depth if Mr Zimit was actually trying to teach them an important lesson. Instead when his true inentions are revealed he just comes across as petty and lame.
Still it if you get bored you can play your own game of which characters you leave behind in the event of an apocalypse.
Rating 2.5/5 – ambitious but a cheesy third act and an irritating protagonist undermines its potential
I missed horror film The Purge when it was released earlier this year, however with its bleak depiction of future America and creepy trailer I was determined to watch it eventually. But this year has already seen awesome horror films in the form of The Conjuring and You’re Next, can The Purge be up there with the best of this year’s horror offerings?
Set in the year 2022, America has become a “nation reborn”, employment rates are low and so is crime-for most of the year. Every year all of America engages in The Purge-for 12 hours people can commit any crimes with no fear of punishment. This release supposedly allows the citizens to be normal, productive members of society for the rest of the year. One rich family, the Sandins are locked down for the night using the high security system that patriarch James (Ethan Hawke) sells for a living. But when a bloody stranger calls out for help, James’ son Charlie (Max Burkholder) lets him in, causing a group of teenagers hunting for the stranger to turn up at their door.
It’s an interesting premise at the centre of The Purge. The divide of the rich and the poor is an important theme of the film although it’s a bit heavy-handed at times. The snippets of news we hear before the Purge starts hints at a world where the rich can buy their safety while the poor are left to fend for themselves. It’s also noted that high level government members are excluded from the purge and cannot be harmed.
Although there a few good, jumpy moments in the film it’s never as scary as the trailers suggested it would be. There are hints of layers within the Sandin family but there’s not much to really care about them. Slowly as they start to develope more of a conscience they become more sympathetic but they are sketchy characters at best. Still at least they get more than the stranger gets. We don’t really know anything about him apart from that he’s probably poor, a group is following him and planning to kill him. It would have been more interesting to know more about him but he’s mostly hiding or knocked out for most of the film.
What helps save the film from being a complete waste of time is Rhys Wakefield’s turn as the Polite Leader (we never know his name either). His gang turn up in scary smiling masks, yet he somehow looks more sinister without his mask. He’s all smiles and speaks of good manners in his conversation with James, yet is threatening to kill the whole family if they don’t hand over the stranger. He’s a great villain who belongs in a better film.
Rating-2.5/ Besides Rhys Wakefield disturbing turn, the film is not as terrifying as its premise suggests